Below are some debate/discussion topics for business English classes as well as some useful expressions for discussion and debate. Have students pick a debate topic and research it for homework. In the following class, have a debate/discussion on that issue. Be sure to teach the expressions for discussion and debate and encourage your class to use these expressions during the debate.
Business English Topics for Debate/Discussion
1. Multinationals do more harm than good.
2. Multi-level marketing is a legitimate business model.
3. We need a minimum wage so that companies don’t take advantage of their employees.
4. Human Resources shouldn’t be allowed to ask questions about an applicant’s marital status, religion, age, medical history, or immigration status.
5. Companies shouldn’t look at prospective employees’ social media profiles.
6. Casual dress codes are beneficial for the company.
7. Companies should have strict policies against dating at work.
8. Open floor plans are better than cubicle farms.
9. GMO’s have made the world a better place.
10. Happy employees do a better job.
11. It’s okay for bars, restaurants, casinos, and other businesses in the service sector to only hire attractive employees.
12. Social media sites should be blocked at work.
13. The lingua franca for doing business should be English and more companies should demand English proficiency from their employees.
14. Employees that work from home are more productive.
15. Companies should be allowed to drug test their employees.
16. An MBA is worth the cost.
17. Non-financial incentives are better motivators than financial incentives.
18. Pay-day loans need to be regulated by the government.
19. Corporations should not be allowed to make large campaign contributions to political candidates.
20. Pro sports leagues should not have a non-profit status.
21. Men should be given more time off for paternity leave.
22. We need laws to regulate the unpredictability of part-time schedules.
23. Companies should be forced to provide health care to full-time employees.
24. Companies should be forced to provide health care to part-time employees.
25. Prescription drug companies should be allowed to advertise directly to consumers.
26. We need laws to ensure that women receive salaries comparable to their male counterparts.
27. There should be gender quotas for women on boards of directors.
28. Public funds should not be used for professional sports stadiums.
Useful Expressions for Discussion and Debate
|Giving an Opinion|
In my opinion…
The way I see it…
As far as I’m concerned…
|Asking for an Opinion|
What do you think?
Do you agree?
What are your thoughts on this?
I completely agree. (strong)
You’re absolutely right. (strong)
I couldn’t agree more. (strong)
I guess so. (weak)
You could be right. (weak)
You may have a point there. (weak)
I completely disagree. (strong)
I totally disagree. (strong)
That’s not always true.
That’s not always the case.
I’m not so sure about that. (weak)
I don’t know if I agree with you. (weak)
|Acknowledging someone’s argument and presenting yours|
I agree with you, but…
That may be true, but…
I see your point, but…
I guess so, but…
That’s not necessarily true because…
Not necessarily because…
But what about…
Sorry to interrupt, but…
Can I add something?
Sorry, you were saying… (after interrupting someone)
Please let me finish (after being interrupted)
Let’s get back to…
Getting back to…
You were saying that…
For more topics to get your students talking, please see these business English conversation lessons.